Digital consumer data is the new battleground
James Curtis’ piece on ‘the future of media’ (Campaign, 17th March 2005) makes for compelling reading but falls down because it barely acknowledges the power of individual data. With one billion people worldwide currently having access to computers and with more than 800 million new mobile handsets being issued this year alone, only those media owners holding the most valuable and precise individual data will survive.
Recent manoeuvrings by Google are a tacit recognition of the fact. As the number one search engine they already know what you’re reading, what you are interested in, where you are going (Google maps) and their forays into the VoIP and mobile markets are significant because Google will eventually know everything about you. Google’s strategy is replicated elsewhere across the net. Is it any coincidence that eBay has bought Skype? Or Yahoo Dialpad? It’s not a haphazard plan but a clear land-grab to own personal information and data.
The information collated on individuals will subsequently allow precise delivery of relevant communications to millions of individuals in ‘real time’. It will also be delivered in a far more relevant and personal way, eventually via mobile (by 2010 it is estimated that over 125 million people worldwide will view television via mobile broadcasting).
Make no mistake, the empowerment of individuals and the power of digital consumer data is the key trend moving forward. As Rupert Murdoch said only last week, “power is moving away from the old elite in our industry…to a new generation of media consumers”. Whoever holds the data on these individuals will be crowned king.